Outliers: Wyatt Redongo

Wyatt RedongoPhoto: Wes Scheler

Most folks stick to the script. If it ain’t broken, why fix it? And while routine is comfy-cozy, safe and sound, it’s also f–king boring. But spontaneity? That’s where life is, just ask Wyatt Redongo. An avid traveller from Oahu with an incredible tube-sense in large lefthanders, he’s as spontaneous as a flame. If an obscure opportunity for adventure reveals itself, Wyatt’s onboard, no questions asked. As he’s somehow wangled a dream job as the boat captain on TV’s Survivor, he’s also figured out how to fit in a lot of surfing. His first piece of advice in living life spontaneously? Always be available.

SURFING: Before you got all Hollywood, did you travel much or stay around home?

Wyatt: I traveled a bit. I went to Indo for the first time when I was 17 and it was a huge eye opener, especially for a kid from Hawaii. It made me realize that there’s such a big world out there. I did a few more trips to Bali, West Java, Sumbawa, G-Land but eventually I needed to get a job and figure things out. I still wanted to travel so I started lifeguarding and then working construction on Maui to fund that. My girlfriend went to veterinary school in St. Kitts and I’d visit her there all the time. I’d always make just enough money to go back. But I’d find a lot of good waves in the Caribbean.

And after that, how did you get into working on TV and film sets?

Well, my good friend Matt Lozano — who’s a great surfer and one of the best Ski drivers I’ve ever met — got me my first job. His dad was working on TV shows around the island and got me a job on Lost. Then I got on some more Lost shows and a commercial here and there; I’d just always be available and that’s the key. I worked for a few more marine coordinators and on an ABC show called The River. Then one day a guy calls me and says, “I can’t tell you where you’re going, but we’d like for you to work for us — it’s boat work.” They told me it was for Survivor, but he still couldn’t tell me where I was going. The next thing I know, they send me a ticket to the Philippines. It was my dream job. I even got them to book my ticket to leave from St. Kitts. [laughs]

Wow, and what were you actually doing on the show?

I was a boat captain on a 21-foot rigid-hulled inflatable for four months. Basically, just shuttling crew members from place to place. I was there for emergency evacuations, too. It was a crazy tropical paradise. At first, I wasn’t so sure if I’d be surfing at all or just working the whole time, but then I found out the other people on the crew were Aussies and everyone surfed. [laughs] My shift was from 3 AM till 12:30 PM and I’d just surf after that. We scored some amazing waves, a few that were never surfed before — two of which were insane.

That sounds like the life. Where’d you go the following year?

We actually did it in the Philippines again, but in a different part. And the waves were even better that time. Four months again and whenever it was flat, we’d be swimming with whale sharks, snorkeling, fishing or doing anything else in the ocean.

And what are you up to now, just waiting for the next season of the show?

I’m actually going to school to become a commercial diver. Being in the ocean makes me happy. So does building, rigging and using my hands to create things; I like that feeling of accomplishment. Ultimately, I want to find a job where I can work hard for a few months and then take off for a while to surf and explore — that’d be the life for me. That’s what I’m working toward. But yeah, I’d love to get on another season again. The show’s a traveling dream.

Outliers is a column from managing editor, Beau Flemister, about everyday surfers who’ve rearranged their lives in pursuit of scoring around the world.